Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Friends With Boys - Faith Erin Hicks

 Lately I've been immersed in reading books for the UCF Book Festival, but I had a NEED you see.  A need for pictures and stuff.  Graphic novels are a balm for my brain, and USUALLY they can be read very quickly.  A balm I tell you.  

Fizzy Jill and Bermudaonion both brought this little beauty to my attention, and alas my library had it!  This was a sign.  So I figured I could sneak it in between my mandatory reads.  I ended up reading it in my car while waiting for my son to finish with volleyball practice.  Nobody even had to know about my transgression!

So here we are introduced to Maggie, who lives with her chief of police dad and three older brothers.  Maggie has been home-schooled her entire life by her mom, who has since abandoned the family, and is now facing her first year in a public high school.  Will she fit in?  Will she find her crowd?  Her brothers (one who is a creative, artistic type and the twins who are like feral animals) give her various words of wisdom.

Maggie does find friendship with brother and sister Alistair and Lucy, who sport punk-emo piercings and hairstyles.  Although they are visually intimidating, they are earnest, real, nonjudgmental and easy to be with.  There is some underlying tension between Maggie's new friends and the "cool kids" at school, and over the weeks the real story emerges, and Maggie's involvement might wind her up in hot water.  But might it be worth it?  These are her people.  

Plus there is a restless ghost following Maggie around and is becoming a bit of a nuisance.

Maggie's story may not be completely typical but her nerves on the first day of school and the desire to fit in are universal.  And for a graphic novel, all of the characters come through so unique and strong (a true testament to the illustrations) that I felt a full chapter of text had been dedicated to each of them.  The facial expressions, the actions, the body language...it all made these kids instantly familiar.  And likable.  Even the feral twin brothers.

I was slightly unsettled by gaping holes in the plot, however.  Questions that were not answered.  Why did Maggie's mother leave them?  What is up with these weird looks between Alistair and Maggie's older brother?  I wondered if I'd missed something.  But because today I am a glass half full person, I choose to believe that more installments will be forthcoming that will explain all.  

I thought the ghost thread was a little fun, but also unnecessary and random.  It felt a little out of place, but whatever.  As long as nobody is falling love with the ghost, or being murdered by the ghost, I guess we can live and let live.  Or let sleeping ghosts lie.  Or whatever.

So I see that Faith Erin Hicks has other GNs out there.  I will be scouring my library for all of them.

4.5 out of 5 stars  


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I just cannot warm up to graphic novels! Yet, maybe that's a yet.

bermudaonion said...

I accepted the holes just fine - maybe because it is a graphic novel and I didn't expect it to be fully developed. Speaking of Fizzy Jill, have you heard anything from her lately?

Jeane said...

It sounds great. I'm on a little graphic novel kick myself, right now. This one's on my list already. (I'm usually not much into ghost stories, but maybe that part will be okay).

Literary Feline said...

I want to read this! I will have to add it to my wish list.

I have a stack of graphic novels to read but haven't made time to read them. I think I might try and fit one or two in soon. It'd be a nice change of pace.

The Relentless Reader said...

Recently I've become quite enamored of graphic novels. I'm going to look for this one, thanks!

caite said...

gaping holes and still a 4.5? Sandy is getting soft!
and I too can not get on the graphic train.

JoAnn said...

I usually read one or two GNs a year. Relish by Lucy Knisley is on my list and will add this one, too.

Heidenkind said...

Alistair is in love!

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed the few graphic novels I've read and need to read more of them. They are perfect for read-a-thons :)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thanks for sharing this review!

Julie P. said...

These books (I read your reviews out of order!) sound like they'd be perfect for teens. I like some of the issues they address.